I don't normally strike up conversations with strangers - perhaps she doesn't either - but on this occasion for some reason we began to talk. She told me she was visiting a female friend who lived in Stirchley and whom she had known for forty years and then she told me about how her husband had died and the male friend who had helped her through those difficult times.
The conversation was particularly apt for me not only professionally as I soak all these things up for later use in my characters but also in my personal life. But one of the things she said that struck a chord with me was that this friend had been a lecturer in literature and had written a paper about Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Not specifically about Tess either, but about the boots she wore!
It hit me then that people pay attention to what we as writers say, think and believe - even if it is contrary to a reader's own set of beliefs and opinions. That gives writers a responsibility to portray things in a correct light. And it is for that reason that I am writing this post.
Split Decisions will be out very soon. Unlike The Owners series I have written, Split Decision is not suitable reading material for the under fifteens as it contains graphic material. I am being very specific here, not only because I have children of my own but because yes, I did write Split Decision to make a specific point. It contains some violence and some swearing because it is true to life but I think and I hope that it will make people think about the state of our society.
But not every page I write has a deeper significance and some things are just a tiny little detail which means nothing either way. I wonder if the esteemed Mr Hardy ever intended that a paper be written about his character's boots...or were they just the things she put on her feet? Whatever the case, writing, like any art becomes the possessor's property to display and to discuss at the point of sale. What the creator of the project meant [if anything] is sometimes lost in the wind.
So here for your delectation is a little snippet from the book I am currently working on, Volume VII of The Owners: Hunter's Moon.
Breathing furiously, lungs labouring like bellows, Taylor and Breaker were forced to pause for breath. With hammering hearts they turned back towards the forest and the flames which rose there. The woods had become a conflagration, an inferno from which they could already feel the heat sear them with its intensity. Still they didn’t dare speak or even look at one another lest their emotions betrayed their resolve.
Preparing to gather Matilda up once more, Taylor was surprised when the woman seemed to pull herself together, managing to plant her feet firmly on the forest floor and bear her own weight.
She looked at him with eyes that seemed too large for the rest of her features and too old for her face. “I did the wrong thing!” she said, as huge tears dropped from those liquid orbs.
Taylor felt his heart constrict in sorrow. “Now’s not the time Tilly. What’s done is done,” he reminded her.
She bit her lip and turned away from the blaze, the dead and the dying. “And can’t be undone,” she finished for him. “God help me. It can’t be undone.”
I wish I could lift the burden these characters have found themselves under. But it is their story, I am merely the teller of their tale...